On April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake shook San Francisco, California. Though the quake lasted less than a minute, its immediate impact was disastrous. The earthquake also ignited several fires around the city that burned for three days and destroyed nearly 500 city blocks.
Despite a quick response from San Francisco's large military population, the city was devastated. The earthquake and fires killed an estimated 3,000 people and left half of the city's 400,000 residents homeless. Aid poured in from around the country and the world, but those who survived faced weeks of difficulty and hardship. One of the priorities of priorities of big businesses and wealthy citizens were to retrieve what was locked up in safes. Photo from From NYPL Digital Collections: Robert N. Dennis
Info on the Earthquake at History.com The Great San Francisco Earthquake topples buildings, killing thousands